What Does Bugging Out Mean to You?

Any survival instructor worth his or her salt will be the first to tell you that there are no universal solutions in the world of preparedness. What works for one isn’t necessarily the best idea for another. We all bring to the table different levels of knowledge and experience, different budgets, and different goals.

Bugging out is the single most popular topic in all of prepperdom, that is for certain. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many words have been written on the subject. Yet, for all of its popularity and coverage in survival literature, people still struggle with the concept. I think at least part of that confusion stems from the common human desire to have someone just tell us what to do, rather than figuring out the solution ourselves.

Here’s the thing. Bugging out means different things to different people. Generally speaking, I believe bugging out should always be a last resort, rather than a primary plan. However, I’m smart enough to know that even that rule will have exceptions. For me, bugging out means I’m going to have to abandon all of my goodies at home, grab my kit, and head for a safer location, such as the home of a close friend or family member, until the crisis has passed.

For others, bugging out means leaving home and never planning to return. Some of those folks figure to head for the hills and live off the land for the rest of their days.

Some people envision bugging out as involving heated gun battles as they fight their way toward their final destination. Because of this way of thinking, they load up their bug out bags with several firearms and many boxes of ammunition. Others plan for a more stealthy trip, doing everything they can to avoid any contact with other human beings. As a result, their planned bug out routes may take them miles away from a straight path, circling around towns and other potential problems.

I, nor any other instructor, can tell you exactly how to craft your own bug out plan. Your situation is unique to you. However, I can give you some guidelines to consider.

1) Any confrontation carries a risk of injury to you and members of your group. It doesn’t matter how well armed and prepared you may be, all it takes is a lucky shot from the other side to bring down one of your people. It might be a better plan to try and avoid such situations as best you can.

2) Bugging out without a planned destination just makes you a refugee. Know where you’re going and how you are going to get there, including alternate routes.

3) Planning to live off the land for any length of time, for the vast majority of people, is folly at best. Avoid the Hollywood nonsense and apply a good amount of common sense when crafting your plans.